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Article 4



Manila Bulletin, Sept. 24, 1999

Regine's Humble Beginnings
by Crispina Martinez Belen

When she guested recently on the "Celebrity Night" show of the National
Press Club, Regine Velasquez was humble enough to relate her not-easy trek
towards stardom. What triggered her "confession" was the presence at the
club of someone who used to beat her in various amateur singing contests in
Bulacan. His name is Freddie Velez . He did not pursue a career in singing
but is now with the media, we were told.

Regine recalled that when she was young and eager to make a name as a
singer, she joined almost all of the amateur singing contests in Bulacan.
(Regine and her four other younger siblings, including twin girls, grew up
in Bulacan so that makes them pre-bred Bulakeņos, she said, but their
parents Gerry and Teresita Velasquez are from southern Leyte). "Lahat halos
ng mga amateur contests noon sinalihan ko. Kahit na sa pinakasuluk-sulukan
ng Bulacan. Una, puwede ka pa namang sumakay, pero may hangganan. Kapag
paliit na paliit na ang daan, we had to get down from our ride and walked.
Imagine me all dressed up and with high heels pa, na lumalakad ng ilang
kilometro papunta sa kung saan may pa-contest!" she revealed. That was how
interested and anxious she was to display her singing talent.

And Freddie Velez who Regine met again at the NPC almost always emerged the
winner with Regine coming just No. 2, Regine said. Regine, who used her
real name Chona when she was just starting in showbiz, won in "Ang Bagong
Kampeon" (which was hosted by Pilita Corrales and the late Bert "Tawa"
Marcelo) and that became her stepping stone. She has guested on "Celebrity
Night" when she was younger and it was her first comeback at the NPC when
we invited her to topbill the performers during that night which was
sponsored by the Bulacan Government led by Gov. Josie dela Cruz, the vice
governor and mayors of some towns like Neneng Nicolas of Sta. Maria, and
the mayor of San Ildefonso who brought the house when he danced the boogie
skillfully (though he has just came from the hospital) with livewire Jo
Awayan. A "balagtasan" group from Bulacan also formed part of the program.
Another special guest that night was former Bulacan Gov. Obet Pagdanganan.

Regine, by the way, performed "You Were There" and "You Are My Song."

The other performers that night included the Mabuhay Singers (Cely
Bautista, Carmen Camacho, Ray Lucero, Rita Rivera) who rendered kundimans
and other well-loved Tagalog songs, Bobby Gonzales, Fred Panopio (he sang
his signature songs such as "Kawawang Cowboy" and "Pitong Gatang"), Renz
Verano, Shermaine Santiago, Wynona Taylor, the Big Three Sullivans, Venus
Diosa, Cynthia Bautista, Jason Martinez and Marideth Placencia.


Competitors yesturday

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Friends today.



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